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Ecclesiastes: The Fearless & Restless Mind (Adult Learning)

Past Sessions
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 15 Cheshvan 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Online
Wednesday, November 2, 2022 8 Cheshvan 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Online
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 1 Cheshvan 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Online
Wednesday, October 19, 2022 24 Tishrei 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Online

Class Videos:

 Ecclesiastes: The Fearless & Restless Mind:  An example of the Bible’s “Wisdom Literature,” Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) takes a most unorthodox stance compared to other Biblical books. Its philosophy is world-weary; the author of the book tests and evaluates life’s experiences and meditates on the meaning of existence—and often comes up wanting! It’s an extraordinary book—surprisingly modern in so many of its questions and answers—and often cuts against the grain of ideas and values we thought were “Biblical.” Since medieval times, the book has been linked with autumn and the festival of Sukkot.

We’ll do some close readings of Ecclesiastes and imagine an ancient author, looking up at the vastness of the cosmos, and asking the profoundest questions of purpose and existence. We’ll look at some of the most familiar passages of this quotable book (“To everything there is a season”; “Vanity of vanities!”; “The race is not won by the swift”; etc.) as well as some of its less-known jewels (such as the elaborate riddle presented in chapter 12). 

Rabbi Neal Gold teaches and writes about Jewish texts, Israel, and intersections between Jewish spiritual life and the contemporary world. He is the Jewish Chaplain and Hillel Director at Babson College, and teaches university-level adult education for Me’ah, a program of Hebrew College. He is the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis. In 2020, he created a rapidly expanding online platform for adult Jewish learning called “A Tree with Roots.”

Neal received smicha (rabbinic ordination) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and in 2018 he earned a second Master’s Degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. He is the author of many academic and popular writings about Judaism and Israel, and he is the editor of Radiance: The Collected Prose and Poetry of Danny Siegel, published by the Jewish Publication Society in 2020.

For over 18 years he served congregations in New Jersey and Massachusetts. He also served as the Director of Content & Programming for ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, and was a delegate at the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in October 2016. His writing and blogging on issues of Jewish interest, and his teaching schedule both online and in person, can be found at

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Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784